Nancy’s Response to Caroline Weber’s Letter in the New York Times Book Review

In her desperation to prove that Marie Antoinette did not have an affair with Count Axel Fersen, Weber cites a 2019 non-peer-reviewed study by a French geneticist claiming to have proved that Louis XVI was the father of the queen’s second son, Louis XVII.  If Weber had bothered to investigate further, or even read the study itself, she would have discovered that this is the same geneticist who claimed to have isolated Jesus’s DNA from the Shroud of Turin.  Similarly, for this study, he used a lock of hair that had no legitimate provenance and could have easily come from any of Marie Antoinette’s children, the older two of whom were unquestionably Louis XVI’s. 

To counteract my point that Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette were nowhere near each other during the week that conception of her second son took place, but that Fersen was documented to have been at the Petit Trianon with the queen that week, Weber offers a slew of other biographies that do not recognize the affair.  By doing so, she simply proves that she doesn’t know what a primary source is.  The fact that there are other biographers who came to a different conclusion is meaningless.  There were plenty of biographies of Thomas Jefferson before Annette Gordon-Reed’s that did not mention Sally Hemings.  That did not mean that Jefferson did not father children with Sally Hemings.  It just meant that the other biographers (like Weber with Marie Antoinette) MISSED IT.